Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Five: Tips for Internship Interviews

First, let me preface this post by stating that by no means do I consider myself to be an expert on the interview process. I am clearly still an intern and I do not know it all. I make just as many mistakes as the next person. However, I have been on many internship interviews over the past few years and I have picked up quite a few tips. Also, I was lucky enough to have the chance at my current internship to sit in on some internship interviews which provided me with a unique take on the process.

Summer internships are ending and interviews for Fall are happening right now! So, here are my top five tips for internship interviews:

Picture: CollegeFashion.net

1. Always be on time. This may seem obvious, but even being a few minutes late can ruin your chances. The person that you are interviewing with is most likely super busy and won't wait around for you to show up. I find arriving about 15 minutes early is perfect. Early enough to show you're reliable, but not TOO early.

2. Always have extra copies of your resume handy. During one interview I sat in on, a girl only had one copy of her resume available. I like to print out about five because sometimes there are multiple people in an interview at once. Having extras also allows me to keep one copy on my lap to reference. Additionally, make sure the copies are NEAT! This girl pulled the single resume from her bag and it was completely crumpled. Carrying your resumes in a folder not only keeps them neat, but also makes you look more professional.

3. Always do research and have knowledge of the company. This is extremely important! It is essential to have background knowledge of the company before you go into the interview. At the very least, know what the company does, have a basic idea of the firm's history, and know the names of key people at the company. For a PR firm it is very important to also know who their clients are and for a designer, it is imperative that you can talk about their recent collections. Great ways to find information are to look at their website, find them on social media sites, and to do a basic Google search. There is nothing worse than going into an interview unprepared!

4. Always have a question or two ready. There should be no awkward silence at the end of the interview when they ask, "Do you have any questions?" Be ready to fill that space! Even if all of your main questions were answered during the interview, it is still important to ask one to show that you are truely interested. Some great examples are, "What has been your favorite part about working here" and "What is the daily office environment like?" These show that you are interested in the person's background as well as trying to picture yourself working at the company.

5. Always give a firm handshake. At the very end make sure you stand up straight with confidence, look the person in the eye, give them a firm handshake, and sincerely thank them for taking the time out of their day to meet with you. I've seen girls walk out of interviews without a giving a handshake and they looked seriously rude!

The time after your interview is just as important! I feel that a follow up "thank you" e-mail should be sent immediately for an internship, although some people think a hand written note should be sent as well. Either way, a letter addressed to your interviewer should be sent thanking them and reminding them just how interested you are. Remember, no follow up and you probably won't get the job!

PS: If you are still looking for a Fall internship, I suggest you check out InternQueen (@InternQueen), Ed2010 (@Ed2010News), Free Fashion Internships (@FashionIntern), Internships.com ( @internships), and the website/Twitter of the companies you would like to intern with! Good luck!

What are some other internship interview tips that I didn't mention?

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